My research will look into the nature of different kinds of trust in modern market societies; namely, the general attitude that people have or what philosophers call the basic trust/default position (represented in the form, ‘X is Trusting’), trust in intimate interpersonal relationship (represented in the form, ‘X Trusts Y’) and the distanced impersonal ones (the non-particularized, object-oriented trust, represented in the form, ‘X Trusts Y to Ф’; where Ф is the purpose of trust). Trust - since it works as a lubricant in all kinds of relations, or some have argued it to be the foundation of society and inter-relations - becomes an important phenomenon to investigate. As we know that change in the nature of trust 'reflects big events in society', so the hue and cry about crisis of trust and trustworthiness demands a thorough appraisal. Baier had said “We inhabit a climate of trust as we inhabit an atmosphere and notice it as we notice air, only when scarce or polluted” (Baier 1986; pg 234). It may very well be the case that there are some palpable changes in the body politic of our time which has revived the concern, both academic and in daily life, for concepts like trust and friendship.
I would like to investigate this shift. However, the investigation will not be comprehensive if we only look through the rigid lens of interpersonal-impersonal relations. Our societies are multistranded, which means if someone is buying something from a shop, they are dealing not only with a seller, but also with a fellow citizen, a collaborator, ally or rival, ritual participant, supporter of the same football club, and the possibilities are endless. Therefore, an investigation should be conducted based on the different roles a person plays in a modern society – namely the roles as a part of production system and role as a social and moral agent.
My research will thus investigate, whether our role as rational economic agents in a capitalist free market society influences our behaviour in other social roles – namely our close interpersonal relationships (where I feel we exhibit the richest kind of trust) – and interferes with the general structure of a society (which, if it does then it might possess the potential to disintegrate the current social arrangement).